Blue in the Sky

A lesbian wife and mother tries her hand at something new. Surely there is a hat that fits out there somewhere!

Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seeds Wednesday April 20, 2011

Filed under: Daily Life,Food Glorious Food,The Chef — The Professor @ 9:17 am

I’m violating seasonality by dragging my butternut fascination into the spring, but I can’t help myself.  This dish is delicious.  My favorite element is the crunch of the pumpkin seeds.  A nice touch for sure.  This recipe comes from one of my new favorite foodie websites, food52.


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 2-pound butternut squash, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 3/4 cup water or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


  1. Put the quinoa in a bowl and cover it with cool water. Rub it between your hands and pour off most of the water. Add fresh water and repeat two or three times, until the water runs clear. Drain thoroughly in a fine-meshed strainer. Set the strainer over a bowl until you are ready to cook the quinoa.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large (4 to 5-quart) pot. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until it begins to soften. Stir in the chili powder and the squash and cook, stirring every so often, for 3 more minutes. Add the drained quinoa, water or stock and salt. Bring the liquid to a boil, adjust the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
  3. Set a small plate next to the stove. Pour a few drops (about 1/2 teaspoon) of olive oil into a small skillet. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the pumpkin seeds. Stir and shake the pan until the pumpkin seeds turn from green to olive to slightly golden brown. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and immediately scrape them onto the awaiting plate.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and add the spinach and cranberries. Cover the pot and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. Mix and fluff up the grains with a fork. Serve sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds.

The Second Week in April Monday April 18, 2011

Filed under: Daily Life,Family,Friends,The Wife & Mother — The Professor @ 8:50 am

It’s been a pretty good week around here.

Dad had his first round of chemo that ran from Monday through Thursday and he handled it like a champ.   No more drugs for the next three weeks while his body rests.  He will follow this schedule each month through October.

The week was filled with the regular schedule of feedings and walks and naps and playing with toys and grocery shopping and cooking and laundry.  On Monday I kicked off my new early morning writing initiative by setting the alarm for 5:15 and writing for a an hour before the day officially begins.  I got this idea from my NaNoWriMo mentor Mallory and I’m loving it so far.  She calls it the Power Hour and if you have a writing interest yourself you should check out her blog bc she has tons of great resources and a fictional blog called The Stretch Mark Club that she kicked off last week.

On Wednesday we had our first visit with a big kid (a two year old) and both of us had a blast.  Bean got to play with all sorts of new toys and I got to hang out with a more experienced Mommy.  It’s nice to have parenting talk with someone who isn’t in the same place you are.  Yeah, we’ll be doing that again for sure.

This weekend we did something new.  Toad, Bean and Baker headed out of town on Thursday night for the grandparents house and I stayed behind for a scrappy weekend with T.  This was my first time away from my family since Bean was born eight months ago.  It was pretty strange.  Visiting with T was fabulous and getting tons of scrapping done (I FINALLY finished our wedding album – from 2008) was lots of fun, but three days without my little tree frog was a long time.  Seeing that smiling face in the backseat when they pulled into the garage Sunday afternoon was a beautiful thing indeed.

The weekend did underscore just how long it had been since my last BFF visit and I’m so glad that we made it happen.  It wasn’t a long visit, but we made every second count.

This is Bean hanging out in the baby Adirondack chair Grandpa made for him.


Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash Wednesday April 13, 2011

Filed under: Daily Life,Food Glorious Food,The Chef — The Professor @ 8:44 am


  • 2 cups farro, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
  • 5 cups water (or stock)
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large red onion cut into 1/8ths
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup walnuts, deeply toasted
  • 3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or more olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled


  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Combine the farro, salt, and water in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, 45 minutes to an hour, or about half the time if you are using semi-pearled farro. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be toothsome and retain structure. Remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside.
  • While the farro is cooking toss the squash, onion, and thyme with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a couple big pinches of salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Toss the squash and onions every 5-7 minutes to get browning on multiple sides. Remove from the oven, let cool a bit, and mince just 1/2 of the red onions.
  • In a large bowl gently toss the everything (except the goat cheese) with the toasted walnut oil (or olive oil). Taste and add a bit of salt if necessary. Serve family-style in a simple bowl or on a platter garnished with the goat cheese.